Bottled Water vs. Tap Water

We watch commercial after commercial of beautiful fountains, waterfalls on a beautiful island that would seem untouched by human filth. They paint us a beautiful picture and they say it can be within your reach, but it comes at a price. It creates a hole in your pocket, a mountain in the landfills and islands in the ocean. What is creating this? Bottled water.

What’s the big deal? Why are people willing to pay an arm and a leg for this ‘magical’ water when there is such a steep price?

That’s just it. It’s shown as ‘magical.

It’s been said time and time again that bottled water taste better, cleaner and is of better quality than tap water. But is it or have just fallen for the same ol’ marketing ploy.

“20/20” took five bottles of national brands of bottled water and a sample of tap water from a drinking fountain in the middle of New York City and sent them to microbiologist Aaron Margolin of the University of New Hampshire to test for bacteria that can make you sick, like e. coli.

“There was actually no difference between the New York City tap water and the bottled waters that we evaluated,” he said.

We asked people to rate the waters as bad, average or great. Lots of people said one of the waters was particularly bad. Was that the tap water? No. Tap water did pretty well. Even people who said they don’t like it, liked it on the blind test.

In our test of bottled waters, Kmart’s American Fare — the cheapest brand — won. Big-seller Aquafina came in second.

Iceland Spring tied the ordinary tap water for third place. Fifth place went to Poland Spring, and in last place, by far, with almost half the testers saying it tasted bad, was the most expensive water — the fancy French stuff, Evian.

Source after source reads the same way.

Fiji water is always the most tempting for me to buy. I’ve never had it, but the picture on the back that looks even more beautiful when you’re looking through the water…it’s hard to walk away. Aqaufina is as they say seems cooler and crisper than most water, tap or bottled, but I also like the filtered water from our tap.

We’ve established that the water of both types is the same; now let’s see what the packaging costs us.

Roughly 50 billion plastic water bottles end up in U.S. landfills each year — 140 million every day! That’s enough, laid end to end, to reach China and back each day. In 2008, Americans drank an average 215 bottles of water each for a total of 66 billion bottles. Of that total, only 22% was recycled.

We are paying 2 to 4 times the cost of gasoline for a product that is virtually free.

If you consider that you should drink about eight glasses (64 ounces) per day. That adds up to 2 gallons per day for a family of four. When your water comes from 12-ounce plastic bottles, the cost can be exorbitant. Let’s assume you pay approximately $6 per case of water (and remember, fancy imported waters can be much more), which is equal to $0.40 per bottle

$0.40 per bottle x 5.3 bottles per person = $2.13 x 4 people = $8.53 x 365 (days in a year) = $3,114.67

If you don’t like tap then consider getting a filter. We have a water filter thing in our fridge and I love it. We brought a water filter, not a fancy one or anything just a cheap one, with us on our vacation a while back and it worked pretty well. A basic pitcher-style system retails for about $20 and requires a new filter every 40 gallons. A family of four will need to replace its water filter 18.25 times per year at a cost of about $6.50 per filter, which amounts to $119.

A couple of $12 water bottles for each member of the family will run $96 per year. There is also the cost of water from the tap to consider, which runs about $1.50 per 1,000 gallons in the U.S.  A family of four consumes about 730 gallons of water per year (2 gallons/day, 365 days/year), which amounts to $1.10. So, the total cost of using a pitcher-style water filtration system per year for a family of four is:

$119 (filters) + $96 (water bottles) + $20 (pitcher) + $1.10 (water from the tap) = $236.10.

That means a family of four can potentially save $3,114.67- $236.10 = $2,878.57 each year by switching from bottled water to a water filter.

After you consider all this, which will you choose?


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